Meh.

I made a statement in one of the mental health talks I did about being true to how I was actually doing when people asked. Recently, this has become more and more of a problem for me. I think as a society we’re getting better at asking how people are doing, but we still don’t really care. ( I know that sounds harsh ) I promised myself I wouldn’t pretend to be doing “good” if I wasn’t.

“Hey Ash, how are you?”

“I’m actually not doing the best, feel super overwhelmed and am struggling a lot with my anxiety.’

“Oh.. I.. I’m sorry.”

I mean realistically, that’s a tough subject to dive into, but why bother even asking then.

I have been struggling quite a lot lately. I’ve been pretty honest about it to the majority of the people close to me, but that doesn’t make it easier. Most days I feel like I’m treading in dark, cool water. Just barely keeping my head above the darkness.

At 29, I shouldn’t feel like this.

I should be happy, with a house, my dream job and a pending family. That’s the image that I have to fight to sometimes stay out of my mind.

Life doesn’t always work like that. It doesn’t always give you what you have planned in your head.

A lot of the time it gives you what you need and not what you want at that moment.

But what do I need then? What lesson is life trying to teach me?

To be sad and barely able to keep my head at sea level. To be holding onto this idea of what my life should look like and what the people around me are expecting of me.

It sucks to have a mid that constantly overthinks everything, that gets triggered at the bare minimum of plans changing or other people’s actions.

Where I am right now, it not where I want to be in 4 months when I turn 30. I don’t want to spend another year trying to achieve happiness or trick myself into feeling a certain way.

Thought work is the hardest work. Trying to catch yourself in your unhealthy thoughts before they consume you or rob you of moments in your life.

-A

Love.

It happened like they told me it would. I wasn’t expecting anything, but I found my everything. He came into my life unexpectedly, slowly, respectfully. He didn’t rush me, push me or pressure me into moving too fast. He got to know me before he touched me. He saw my heart before he saw other intimate parts of me. He was everything I needed in that very moment. I found him when I stopped looking. When I didn’t have any expectations or limitations.

It was easy. The way it should be. We slowly and simply became each others best friends. Each other’s everything’s. My needs became his needs and his became mine. Every moment was better when we were together.

Neither of us are perfect. Our relationship isn’t perfect. But that’s what life is. You find the imperfections in each other, and you love one another even more because our flaws are what make us who we are. There’s no growth in perfection.

When someone tells you to wait, to stop looking. Listen to them. Don’t give up or lose hope. Focus on yourself and when you’re least expecting it, your person will walk into you life.

-A

This is.. 30?

I haven’t written in a very long time, which I’m sure you already know if you are reading this and you follow my blog. This has been a few reasons. Some good and some bad.

The lack of writing is not due to the lack of wanting to, more to the lack motivation and lack of words.

The world is a tough place right now. The pandemic locked us in our houses and some of us in our heads. The BLM movement has highlighted a very broken system in our world and has left a lot of people speechless and listening. Right now is not a time to talk, but a time to listen, learn and bring awareness. I am not of the minority, but my partner is. My future children will be. The youth I work with are. It breaks my heart to know they might get treated differently because of the colour of their skin. It is now time for change. For true equality. For the systems to be altered so everyone has an equal chance in this life we live.

2020 has been an interesting year. A year that will be talked about for many years. It’s both exciting and terrifying to be a part of it.

In the midst of it all, it’s a terrifying and exciting year for myself personally. Moving to a new city, with my boyfriend, not knowing what career path to take. Some days I’m beyond excited. Some days I overthink myself into panic attacks. I think both these reactions are normal and I’m embracing both of them.

2020 is a year of change. Embrace it. Let it scare you, then take it by the horns and jump two feet in!

-A

Parked Car

I sometimes sit in my car at the end of the day and cry. Today I stopped and wondered how many other people do this. I looked around the parking lot and didn’t see anyone else, but I know there must be others out there. The reasons behind my car cries are often different. Long days. Not feeling like I’m good enough. Overthinking something. Got in an argument with my partner. The times I cry the hardest, are the times I feel empty and worthless. Unable to pin point my place on this earth. Unable to find a job that is draining in the right way. Unable to take a step back from my many obligations without feeling like I failed someone. I never have enough time for the right people, or enough money for the right things. I question my existence at least once a day. Trying to figure out why I was placed here. Every time I feel like I found it, it slips between my fingers into nothingness. My heart is too big and feels too much and this is a deterrent. I love a lot, which I love about myself, but I take on everyone’s emotions around me and this weighs me down. I try so hard to make the people around me happy and I often forget that their happiness doesn’t always rely on me. I also forget to put my happiness first and I think this is my biggest flaw.

The Biggest Lessons I learnt in the Last Decade!

I’m sure you’ve read or seen a ton of posts like this. But of course, I wanted to get my two cents in. I also think that these past 10 years have been a super important time for me. It was the first 10 years after I graduated and the majority of my twenties and we all know that is a very eye-opening and confusing time.

In no way am I an expert, but I think we can all learn from these lessons I’ve picked my brain for!

  1. Just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean you’ll all of a sudden have a lot of money.
    Growing up, I couldn’t wait for financial stability like I saw that my parents made it seem like they had. But in reality, that is not always the case. Even at 29, I’m still learning the importance of budgeting and spending within my limits. We live in a society that influences us to think ” I NEED this”,  “I must buy the newest edition of _____”. The older I get, the more I realize that these aren’t the things that make me happy and it’s also not realistic for me or the salary I make. I’ve really been trying to make a conscious effort to only buy what I need and not always what I want. I mean, I for sure allow for some “treat yourself” goodies, but all within a budget!
  2. Friendships take work.
    My friend group has definitely shrunk over the years and I spent way too many hours upset over this. It’s true what they tell you in high school that you’ll most likely outgrow a lot of your friendships. For me, in my twenties, I truly found out who I am meant to be and with that happening, I grew away from a lot of people I grew up with. Even the friendships I have now, are continuously growing and changing. I appreciate each and every friend that has been beside me through my ups and downs because if I’ve realized anything in this last decade, it’s that I’m not always the easiest to be friends with.
  3. Forgiveness will set you free.
    My name is Ashley and I am a grudge holder. I was completely blind to this for the first bit of my twenties. I thought if you did me dirty, I’ll act like I don’t know you. Forgiveness is hard. It takes you putting your ego aside and most likely feeling uncomfortable. It might make you feel little, but in the end, you’re really choosing to be the bigger person. Trust me, forgiveness may not save a friendship or a relationship but it will set you free form carrying any burdens.
  4. You can’t do everything.
    I am the queen of overfilling my plate (ask any of my friends or family). If I have a full day off, it’s usually because I forgot I actually have something I should be doing, or I’m procrastinating. But, at 29 and after far too many mental breakdowns, I’ve finally learnt that I can NOT do everything, no one can. That doesn’t make me a failure or any less of a person, that literally makes me human.
  5. Love is easy, but relationships take work.
    I had this idea in my head, that when I fell in love, it would be perfect. That love should be easy, with no problems or struggles of its own. FALSE FALSE FALSE. I don’t care who tells you otherwise, or what romantic movie made it look like a fairy tale. It’s not. And that is perfectly okay. Everything in life takes work, and love and relationships are no different. Communication, understanding, compromise, trust, COMMUNICATION (yes, I said this twice), these are the things that help a relationship succeed.
  6. “You’re right”, is a phrase that you need to say more. Same with “I’m sorry”.
    This is another time you’re going to have tt put your ego to the side but it’s totally worth it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting when another person is right and voicing it. Saying “I’m sorry” is something else that as a collective society we need to say more. Get off your high horse, admit when someone else is right and apologize when needed.
  7. Making time for the things and people you love is crucial.
    This was another thing that I naively thought would just happen as I got older, but that is definitely not true. You need to schedule in time to do the things you want and make those things a priority. You need to set dates with your friends and keep them, despite how crazy life gets.
  8. The opinion you have of yourself matters more than the opinion of others.
    I spent the majority of my life trying to please others. Going to university to please my parents. Being the perfect student to please my teachers. Being constantly happy and positive to please society. Making sure everyone else is comfortable despite being uncomfortable with myself. But what I’ve learnt the most over the past couple years, is none of that matters if I’m not making myself happy. Everyone can be happy and smiling around me, but if I’m not happy with myself, I will be blind to the happiness around me.
  9. Listen to understand, don’t listen to respond. 
    Listen. Basically, the first thing we learn as human, yet it seems to be something we struggle with so much. Next time you’re having a discussion with someone, note whether you’re actually listening or you’re listening and preparing your response. It’s crazy how much you’ll not only learn when you change how you converse with people.

How to Make People Feel Special

**This is not my writing. Saw it on Tumblr (yes I still love tumblr) and thought I’d repost! The original writing is from: https://onlinecounsellingcollege.tumblr.com

1. Treat everyone equally – as if each person is important to you. If you are part of a group of friends, no individual should feel less liked, valued or wanted than anyone else. Show respect for each person’s opinions and ideas. Don’t think of anyone as unpopular.

2. Be interested in others, and what matters to them (even if their interests seem boring to you). Being listened to affirms that you’re a valuable person; and often we’re just looking for a listening ear.

3. Be friendly, warm, outgoing and talk to everyone. It’s easy to ignore or overlook those who are shy, or those who feel awkward and don’t know what to say.

4. Be kind to everyone. At times this can be hard as people can be difficult or unkind to you. But it says more about them than it does about you.

5. Use people’s names when you’re talking to them. It conveys that they are ‘someone’, and builds a stronger bond.

6. Compliment people. Try to notice something good in everyone you meet. But make sure you’re sincere when you give a compliment.

7. Share the joke with everyone. Don’t make inside jokes. It’s exclusive and unkind. Everyone should feel they are part of the group.

8. Do your best to have fun, and have a laugh with everyone. That helps to reduce tension and to break the barriers down.

2020 Resolutions

Can we all take a minute to stop and think about how fast this year flew by? I for one can’t believe it. It was an amazing year of growth, risk-taking and change. There will always be parts of the year, that we wish we could change, but overall the year is only as great as you make it with your mindset. If you choose to focus on all the bad things that happened throughout the year, your year will appear to have been negative. Instead, I challenge you to write down the ‘bad’ or negative things that happened and look at what positive change or growth it brought you.

I am excited for this next year. I am excited to see what adventures and growth it brings. A new year, a new decade and a new chance to recreate yourself to whatever you want. Here are some of the things I will be working on this net year.

  1. Start working towards my goals. I love my current career, I just don’t quite feel like I’m in the exact position I am meant to be in. I want to try and focus on working towards finding exactly what I want to do. Whether that’s going back to school, testing out different positions or organizations altogether, I want to start putting in an effort to focus on this.
  2. Stop stretching myself so thin. I wish I could do everything, I truly do, but this year has definitely made we realize that when I stretch myself so thin, other aspects of my life start to be affected, and not always in a good way. I want to make a list and weigh out what I’m really benefitting from, and what is taking more energy than it brings me.
  3. Travel. The more and more I think about travelling and all the joy and great memories it brought me, I realize that that’s a huge part of my life that I have been missing. I want to spend on only this next year, but in the years to come travelling to more places and creating new memories.
  4. Mental Health. I have been struggling a lot with my mental health lately and by trying to tell myself that “I’m fine, this is just a phase.” and this is not helping and probably making myself sicker. Whether that means reaching out for medication, finding a counsellor or taking some time off from work, I really want to focus on this and stop hiding it under the rug.
  5. Relationships. I want to work on many different relationships in my life. Whether it’s working on communication in my romantic relationship or making time in for the people that mean a lot to me in my friendships. I think since I’ve stretched myself so thin in other aspects of my life, a lot of my relationships have taken a hard hit.

I know a lot of people don’t believe in resolutions, but I think it’s a great opportunity to take a step back and see what parts of your life you wouldn’t necessarily want to change, but maybe improve on.

I hope you all nothing but happiness and joy in the new year. 🙂

Ash

Love with boundaries.

I don’t even know how to start this post, but it is definitely a post I need to write.

My last two posts, if you read them before I made them private, were very one-sided and negative. They were written from the point of view of only myself, which usually would be fine, but in this case, it jeopardized another person.

Never when I write, do I write to hurt another person’s feelings or take away from their side of the situation. But in this case, I did. I am very thankful this person listened to what I had to say and understood it came from a place of hurt.

With my current career, I’ve learnt that we should never act out of anger. When we’re angry our brain literally starts shutting down and doesn’t process like it normally does. I will not blame my past two posts completely on this, but that definitely played into the fact.

Another thing that was pointed out to me was that is wasn’t fair that I shared a part of life so publically that wasn’t just about me, but included another person.  I am a very translucent person if you havent noticed from my past posts and public speaking I’ve done. When I was younger, I so desperately needed someone to connect to and someone who understood what I was going through, I promised I would try to be this person for other people. I never really put into perspective that sharing certain parts of my life that included other people, wasn’t fair to them.

To this person, I apologize. It wasn’t fair and I am very grateful to continually have your support in life. I am also grateful for this lesson. When it comes to my public speaking, this is something I make sure to be careful about, but I totally forgot to also apply this to my blog. If this was an anonymous blog, it would be a different story, but since it’s not, I need to be more careful.

From here on I will no longer be sharing this aspect of my life (without permission of course), on this blog. I am doing this because I want to honour and respect this special person in my life as much as I can.

The one last thing I will share, for now, is I have not been this happy with another person in a very long time. I honestly thought I was never going to find another person who would accept me for who I am, gives me the support and reassurance I need and gives me the butterflies they talk about in movies. I am very thankful for the lessons this special person has given me, the growth they are supporting me through and their constant understanding through the many mental health and daily battles I fight.

Talk soon!

-A

Love.

It has been a very very very long time since I truly liked another person. I’m not talking about lust, sexual attraction, admiration, etc, I’m talking about truly feeling a connection with another person. It has been even longer that I let myself envision a future with someone. It is so god awfully frightening to me to allow myself to be that vulnerable with another person to the point I’ve had multiple panic attacks over it. How crazy is that?? I have been so surrounded by temporary connections, that I’ve totally closed myself from anything that seems to be even the slightest way permanent. It actually made me sad to feel myself push a person a way and doubt their feelings towards me. I tried to suppress my own feelings in danger of getting my heart broken again.

I finally feel whole. Secure in my body. Confident in my goofy self. I couldn’t jeopardize throwing this all away.

I’ve always said, “sex is easy, it’s falling in love that’s hard.”

I spent years chasing the wrong people, for the wrong reasons, always resulting in my heart being broken, my feelings getting walked all over and me being alone in the end, hating every inch of my body.

“If I looked a certain way, that relationship would have worked”.

“If I was more successful, this person would have wanted to be with me”.

“If I alter my appearance, I will find true love”.

In the midst of these thoughts constantly spinning through my head, I forgot what it felt like to be chased instead of doing the chasing. I forgot what it was like to hang out with someone more than once, before they started kissing my neck and sticking their hands in ‘forbidden’ places.

In the midst of this “hook up culture”, I forgot that other types of relationships and feelings existed.

I want to cry every time I think about the idea that by opening myself up, I am putting myself in the familiar place of potentially having to pick up the pieces to my own broken heart, if things don’t work out again.

Am I being pessimistic, looking at it like that? Have I just had my heart broken and walked all over too many times? Or am I being a realist, by keeping in mind all the things that could potentially happen??

If I continue to push the people away that are truly good for my soul, and turn towards the people that are damaging, I may be protecting my heart short term, but missing out long term.

It’s hard to be vulnerable and showcase your flaws and imperfections, but it seems to be almost just as hard to be standing still, while you see others around you pass by.

I just want a person I can sit comfortably in silence with. That gives me room to continue to grow and find myself. I want a person that is excited for me and even more excited to create memories with me. I want to be wanted and cherished for things other than beauty and appearance. I want someone who will challenge me to continue to be the better version of myself and question me when I do something that is worth questioning. I want to be with someone who will never allow me to have to second guess their feelings for me or intentions with me. I want someone who will never allow me to go to bed mad at them and will never leave an argument until it is resolved.

Love is scary. Vulnerable is scary. Allowing someone to see your soul is fricken scary.

But missing out on a person that may light your soul on fire is even scarier.

-A

Is it rape if you liked it?

**I wrote this post a while ago and never posted it. It brings me pain to read it, but I think it’s an important topic to talk about. The un-talked about burred lines. Reader discretion is advised.

This is probably a post I should have written a long time ago. I never wrote it because it is probably one of my lowest points and I’ve been pretty darn low before. In my head, it’s very contradicting. Very dark. And very disturbing.

rape: unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, another body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim. (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/rape)

I have looked this definition up a lot over the last year. Trying to make sense of what happened to me. Was it rape? Did I ask for it? Did I want it? Is it my fault?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. All I know is that what happened wasn’t right.

I went over to his house with the intention of just hanging out. I stated before, very clearly that I did not want anything to happen between us. In a way, I was trying to prove to myself that boys (men) wanted to hang out with me not just because they wanted to hook up, but because they enjoyed my company.

Everything was going fine. We were having some good laughs, super casual. He offered me a brownie and a beverage which I accepted without question, I mean realistically, who would question a brownie and a can of pop.  I drank the pop and ate the entire brownie. He asked if I wanted to keep watching the movie in his bedroom.  Again, I stated out loud and in words this time, that nothing was going to happen, but if he wanted to move to his bedroom so it was more comfortable we could.

At this point, I had started to feel weird. A warm fuzzy feeling. A familiar feeling for me. He started to put his hands on my body, massaging, touching, exploring. It didn’t feel right, but I didn’t say no.

By now I knew there had been something in that brownie.  Something that was making every inch of my skin crawl and every touch feels like I had asked for it.

Time felt like it was moving in slow motion, but at the same time before I knew it my clothes were off. His fingers were inside me.

Again I didn’t say no.

I never said no. The entire time, I let this man do whatever he wanted with my body, while at the same time I knew it wasn’t right.

We asked me to sleep over after everything was over and done with. But I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

I shouldn’t have driven, I wasn’t in the right mindset. I was in shock with everything that had just happened and wanted to get as far away from him as I could.

But is it rape if you orgasm? Is it rape if you never said no? Is it rape if your body liked it, even though your mind didn’t?

I don’t know. I still get stings of pain from this moment. I still question myself every day if it was my fault, this situation could be considered rape. I will probably ask myself this question for the rest of my life.

A sad reality.